Distributed By: Open Road Films
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Often times, a co-worker will direct me towards a movie I never heard about. I love Jason Statham and have since his early beginnings in Ghosts of Mars. The movie wasn’t great, but Statham was incredibly sexy and had that no-holds-barred action sense about him. I knew he was going places as soon as I saw that movie and I try to catch as many of his films as I can. So when my co-worker told me about Homefront and how much he enjoyed it, I couldn’t wait to check it out.
In Homefront, Jason Statham is Phil Broker, a Drug Enforcement Agent who does undercover work, taking down drug rings from the inside. As the movie opens, we witness Broker in the act, working to take down a motorcycle gang and their crystal meth ring. Unfortunately, the takedown goes wrong and the motorcycle gang’s leader, Danny T (Chuck Zito), loses his son in a hail of bullets.
Flash forward and Broker has just moved in to a fixer-upper home in a small Louisiana town with his daughter. Having recently lost his wife, Broker is doing his best to make a change by creating a more peaceful and enjoyable life for his daughter Maddy (Izabela Vidovic). Things start off well enough until that peace is disturbed after Maddy defends herself against a bullying attempt at school. The lessons in self defense Phil Broker has taught his daughter leave the bully, Teddy Klum (Austin Craig), lying on the ground in the schoolyard with a bloody nose.
Normally, this would only serve to upset school staff and the parents. However, in this case, Teddy Klum’s mother, Cassie (Kate Bosworth), just happens to be the sister of the local drug dealer and all-around badass Morgan “Gator” Bodine (James Franco). Unsatisfied with the way the incident was handled and embarrassed by the way her husband (Marcus Hester) is treated by Broker when he tries to exact some heavy-handed justice, Cassie elicits the assistance of her brother.
At first, Bodine is inclined to leave Broker alone, but when Broker takes out two of his employees after trying to put the scare into him, Bodine decides to check Broker out. A trip to his house reveals that Broker is more than just a family man, he is a DEA agent. And not just any DEA agent – he’s the one that took down Danny T! The entrepreneur in Bodine immediately surfaces – he has the product and the means of making the meth. All he needs is distribution. If he can give Danny T the man who took him down and caused the death of his son, Bodine figures that Danny T will give him all the distribution he needs through his motorcycle gang.
Unfortunately, Broker is not one to lie down when he feels his family is being threatened. He, too, has been doing a little research…and when Danny T and Bodine come calling, Broker plans on being ready.
The storyline may be a little on the weak side, but the action in this film is amazing. Jason Statham is incredibly sexy in this film and his fight moves are sometimes so fast, you find yourself wondering what just happened. One minute the bad guy was standing, the next he was face first in the side of a pick-up truck and down on the floor, holding his precious jewels. Kate Bosworth barely looks like herself. She plays the strung out and damaged Cassie so well, you find yourself saying, “hey, that girl looks familiar…who is she?” A total transformation. James Franco is a great actor who somehow finds a way to become whoever it is he has been hired to portray, from a rebel without a cause to a tortured poet to the gay lover of an up and coming politician to a never-do-well drug dealer who’s in over his head. He does a great job in this film, making the viewers hate him in no uncertain terms. Izabela Vidovic is incredibly believable as Statham’s daughter and there is excellent charisma between the two. I wasn’t prepared to see Winona Ryder in this film, but she performs excellently as the former biker chick and now reluctant participant in her drug dealer boyfriend's plan for success.
I was surprised to learn that Homefront was actually based on a novel by Chuck Logan and adapted into a screenplay by Sylvester Stallone, of all people. I supposed I don't give Sly enough credit. After all, he is more than just Rocky or Rambo, but I found myself surprised to find Sylvester Stallone adapting a film into a screenplay that not only has some great action, but a decent story and some great dialogue.
True Jason Statham fans are going to see this film anyway, but fans of any action film should definitely check out Homefront. Filled with hand-to-hand combat, gun battles, car chases, explosions and more, Homefront is just what he action fan's doctor ordered.